Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Revisiting an old haunt

Since we need to be in St Albans on Thursday, we've not returned to Kantara yet. The weather today was lovely. And the forecast's not so lovely. So we drove out to a place I've not seen for forty years.

I did my degree and my teacher training at Borough Road College in Isleworth - in what was then called Middlesex.
Within walking distance of the college is Osterley House. When I was a student, Wednesday afternoons were afternoons off. No lectures, no tutorials, no seminars. And Wednesday afternoons of warmer days would see me in the garden of Osterley House, often asleep under one particular tree.
"Surrounded by gardens, park and farmland, Osterley is one of the last surviving country estates in London. Once described by Horace Walpole as 'the palace of palaces', Osterley was created in the late 18th century by architect and designer Robert Adam for the Child family to entertain and impress their friends and clients.
Today the house is presented as it would have looked in the 1780s; enter the house as the family's guests would have via the impressive stone steps leading up to the portico.
Stroll through the colourful formal gardens, transformed during our six year long project from an overgrown wilderness back to their 18th century grandeur of herbaceous borders, roses and ornamental vegetables beds. Look out for the original Robert Adam summer house full of lemon trees and highly scented shrubs." (National Trust)
So we took ourselves out to Osterley, passing the tube station I used almost every weekend of the four years I was at Borough Road, going home to see Grace - my fiancée for the first three of those years, and my wife for the last one. We didn't go to see the college. I fear it's gone. Became housing in 2006. Very sad.

Osterley House was worth the visit, however, though the gardens were not at their best for seasonal reasons.

But it was good just to shiver our way around the House (there was no form of heating at all) and mooch around the rather warmer grounds. There were Mandarin Ducks on the pond, Parakeets in the trees, and Red Kites on the wing. A lovely way to spend a few hours.

It'll rain tomorrow, you just wait and see!


  1. Oh what memories this brings back, Roger! I have a painting my father did of Osterley Park. He did it for me after I asked to go there for a birthday treat when I was about ten! I loved it (odd child that I was) and so I had a painting as a momento. Lovely to see it is still there and still so classically fine!

  2. How lovely! A momento of a special place and a special person! It is indeed lovely, though much in need of additional money being spent on it. The National Trust do a wonderful job, but they don't have a bottomless pocket.